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Marafa Hails INEC, Says Hope Not Lost For APC In Zamfara

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for maintaining its earlier position on  the rejection of Zamfara APC candidates.

Two judgements were delivered on Friday on the matter. A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that INEC acted within its powers by refusing to accept list of candidates from a faction of APC in Zamfara State.

The second judgement was delivered by Justice Muhammad Bello Shinkafi of the High Court in Gusau, Zamfara State. Shinkafi affirmed that primaries were conducted and requested INEC to accept the candidates produced from the primaries.

However, INEC on Wednesday, after studying the two judgments, decided to maintain its earlier position on the matter.

Specifically, the commission in a statement by its National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye said:

“The commission has decided to maintain its original position that the party in question did not conduct primaries, therefore, in line with Section 87 of the Electoral Act of 2010 ( as amended), not eligible to field candidates.

Reacting to the development, Marafa, a leading APC governorship aspirant, said the commission has done the right thing by maintaining its position on the matter.

“This shows that the commission is not doing the bidding of any of the parties involved in our intra-party squabble. From the beginning, the commission took a weighty but truthful position on the Zamfara APC primaries logjam, despite the fact that our party is the ruling political party.

“The development has shown that the commission will conduct credible, fair and transparent polls. We are urging the commission to always stand by the truth, no matter who is involved,” he said.

Also, Marafa, while commending Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for her sound judgment, said APC could still field candidates in Zamfara State, if their prayers before the Appeal Court in Sokoto are granted.

He said: “We are very optimistic that a fresh window to conduct primaries opposed by Yari, will by God grace be granted by the Appeal Court.

“You will recall that APC failed to conduct primaries in Zamfara state basically because of its obedience to a subsisting order of an Abuja Federal High Court that barred both Yari and my camps from participating in the APC primaries.

“This was actually why APC couldn’t conduct primaries in the state.

“Since neither the party nor the aspirants were responsible for the failure, we asked the court to direct APC to conduct fresh primaries and order INEC to accept the result.

“This was the  prayers sought before the Zamfara State High Court and now before the Appeal Court for determination.”

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